Named after new track “The Duke” – written in honour of Lamb Of God’s late friend and fan, Wayne Ford, who was named after ‘The Duke’ John Wayne – this 5 track EP is part of a charity campaign offering Lamb Of God memorabilia to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
A worthy cause and a fitting tribute to a beloved fan that has resulted in an emotional epitaph, “The Duke” finds Lamb Of God settling into melodic mode with Randy all but reigning in the screams entirely for a vocal performance befitting the subject matter; introspective, tender(!) and devoid of bullshit genre trappings. As Randy Blythe delivers his observations on the fragility of life, the overall feeling of sorrow is palpable but there’s inevitably a sense of anger bubbling under the surface; the sense of loss warranting mixed emotions. “I will never die” sings/screams Randy and for ‘The Duke,’ immortality has been achieved simply because this song exists.
New track number two, “Culling”, is perhaps a little more generic. This is pretty standard LOG fare that pummels and punishes with Randy reverting to his unmistakable snarls and growls and he’s backed by a percussive powerhouse of a performance courtesy of Willie Adler (when does this man never deliver anything other than perfection?). As strong as any album track found on their last 3 releases, “Culling” may be predictable when compared to “The Duke” but it’s a solid offering that’ll please hardcore fans.
Finally, the three live tracks (“Still Echoes”, “512” & “Engage The Fear Machine”) that close The Duke will be familiar to those who invested in 2015’s excellent VII: Sturm und Drang, an added bonus for completists and a fine showcase for how shockingly powerful a live band Lamb Of God truly are. Not essential then but a nice addition.
In conjunction with The Duke EP release, Lamb Of God are offering the following items with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (WWW.LLS.ORG):
– Randy Blythe’s Ashes of the Wake gold record plaque
– Signed signature model guitars
– Signed copies of handwritten lyrics
– Signed copies of ‘The Duke’ EP on CD
– Signed copies of ‘The Duke’ EP on Vinyl
– Signed copies of Randy Blythe’s book
– Plus more
A grand gesture from one of modern metals most vital bands and a true indication that metal music unites artists and fans like no other!
That’s enough from us. Randy Blythe sums up the reason for The Duke far better than we can…”A little while ago I became friends with a fan named Wayne Ford – he was terminal – leukemia. I talked with him often, even video chatted him into the studio. He was very calm about his impending death, and we discussed it very openly. I learned a lot from him. This song is for him.”
Like we said, a fitting epitaph. 8/10
The Duke is released by Nuclear Blast on CD/digitally on Nov 18 and on vinyl on Nov 25.